Little Water Peak Summit
Updated: Nov 15, 2019
Not the tallest peak but scoped out some good ski lines.
Elevation Gain: 1,200
Distance: ~ 6 miles
It was a chilly fall morning and the below freezing temps produced a nice frost on the grass and the trail. The fall foliage was just a few days away from full bloom thus providing an amazing array of colors throughout the hike. Butter, my dog, and I started the gradual climb up the Little Water Trail with the goal of summiting Little Water Peak (LWP). Last year I had done some backcountry skiing along Sheep Shit Ridge which more or less shares the same ridge line as LWP so I wanted to recon this peak in the summer to determine the best ski lines.
The westernly facing trail offers no sunlight early in the morning so the first part of the hike was quite cold.
The trail to Dog's Lake is very well marked with trail signs at each intersection but the "turn off" for the Little Water Peak ridge is nonexistent. I checked my map on All Trails and there appeared to be a designated trail but that was false. Just after the Little Water and Big Water trail intersection there is a fallen log that I assumed marked the beginning of the ascent to the peak. I came to summit so the bushwhacking commenced. The beginning is the worst with lots of trees and bushes but it only last for a few hundred yards before you breakthrough the dense brush and come to an opening. You then realize that you are on a ridge that will guide you up to the peak. There is proper trail along the ridge but there is some matted down grass/shrubs that gives you some guidance but the key is just stay on the ridge and work your way up to the top. Towards the top, you will enter another wooded section but keep pushing up the ridge. Once you exit this section of trees- you will see a summit but be warned- it is a false summit. This is peak 9,401 and it has a small cairn at the top. From here- you will see Little Water Peak due north which requires a short descent then a quick 300 foot ascent to the peak. The summit is not technical and the 360 degree views are great. You can see Murdock to the north, Sheep Shit Ridge to the east, and Reynolds peak to the south along with BCC & LCC peaks in the distance.
I decided to make a loop and therefore I didn't go back the way I came as the All Trails app showed a "trail" to the north/northwest but be forewarned - there is no trail whatsoever and you are completely bushwhacking. The "trail" on All Trails is helpful to mark your direction but it is completely wild and don't expect to see anyone hiking in this area. On the descent I was paralleling Little Water Gulch and if you just keep going down you will eventually run into the Great Western Trial which will take you back to the Little Water Trial. Fun summit since it was off the beaten path and I got to check out some winter ski runs like Shangri-La & Fire Water.
Based on my observation, I would ski the steeper Fire Water line down on the north face or take the long ridge down the north west spine and then drop north towards Mill Creek. And if you are feeling very ambitious, you could skin up Murdock Peak or drop into The Canyons.